Updating Kerry Picket's NewsBusters post yesterday on the arrest of former (as of four days ago) Democratic California Assembly member Fabian Nuñez's son on murder charges -- Esteban Nuñez and others charged with murder pled not guilty Thursday.
The party-ID treatment of Fabian Nuñez, whose term as California Assemly Speaker ended on May 13, but whose term in the Assembly ended just this past Sunday, was barely better than what Kerry observed in the articles she reviewed yesterday.
Here's the rundown, which I will follow with past examples of obviously disparate treatment of Republican politicians whose sons got into much less trouble with the law:
The Times's story has a piece of information not in the other two articles cited that would appear to justify bringing Fabian Nuñez into the story at a more than peripheral level, or at least call for a question or two:
(Esteban) Nuñez told his friends that, if they were charged, his father could get them off on a self-defense argument, according to court documents.
On the surface, it might seem reasonable to contend, as a commenter at Kerry's original post did, that party ID in a story about a son or daughter isn't terribly relevant. I would tend to agree with that.
The problem is, the press doesn't, but ordinarily only when Republican politicians' kids do wrong. It's ridiculously easy to find examples where the party ID of GOP politicians whose sons have gotten into lesser degrees of trouble over the years has been on prominent display.
I obtained the following examples by following the links provided in a Google News Archive search on ["son of Republican" arrested] (typed as indicated within brackets):
Note especially in the final example that the Associated Press had no trouble finding space for Dick Lugar's party ID in an 86-word story about his 40 year-old (!) son.
More recent examples found in other ways include these:
It's thus very obvious that the excuses for ignoring Fabian Nuñez's Democratic party affilation in the stories about his son don't fly -- and they won't, until the press rids itself of its seemingly gleeful obsession with naming only the party of GOP politicians when their kids get in trouble.